Finland to halt development aid to Afganistan after Taliban takeover

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Taliban fighter stand outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland said on Tuesday it would halt development aid to its largest partner Afghanistan following the Taliban's seizure of power, saying it would reconsider the decision when the situation clears.

"We have to see how the situation develops. That said, Finland is not abandoning the Afghan people, its children, women, men, journalists, doctors, deminers or human rights fighters," Ville Skinnari, minister for development cooperation, said in a statement.

"Our objective, together with our international partners, is to protect what we have already achieved. Finland requires its partners to respect human rights," he said.

Finland, a member of the European Union, said its support for humanitarian aid, the work of international organisations and mine clearance has amounted to around 30 million euros ($35 million) a year.

The U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) said on Tuesday it was still delivering aid to most parts of Afghanistan and has held initial meetings with new Taliban representatives in recently seized cities.

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned on Monday of "chilling" curbs on human rights under the Taliban and mounting violations against women and girls.

($1 = 0.8527 euros)

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Paul Simao)

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